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Brandon upheld its tradition

BRANDON - Traditional power Brandon had its traditional district tournament Saturday, qualifying 13 wrestlers for the Class 4A, Region II tournament this weekend in Winter Haven. Only 103-pound Riddick Martin failed to qualify in the Class 4A, District 5 event at East Bay High School, but not because of a mat loss. He was two pounds over his weight and was not allowed to compete.

Bloomingdale placed second in the team competition with 170 points, but was first in individual titles, taking six weight-class championships. The Bulls qualified 10 wrestlers for the regional tournament.

East Bay placed third in the team standings with 133 points and will send 11 wrestlers to Winter Haven.

Early in the 112-pound championship match between Brandon's Doug Badia and Lakeland's Scott Piney, Badia was disqualified for an illegal slam, and the tournament was delayed 35 minutes until a medical team could arrive and safely move Piney off the mat.

Piney was taken to Tampa General Hospital and released Sunday morning.

"He had nothing broken," Lakeland coach Pat Hill said. "The doctors said he just had a sprain and we hope he will be ready to wrestle Friday."

The disqualification was the only loss of the season for Badia.

"It was not an intentional thing," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Doug was in the process of taking the kid down, and he started spinning like a top. It was an unfortunate accident. It shouldn't affect Doug at the regional. He's still the best kid in his weight."

Hillsborough County wrestlers winning individual titles were Dan Spitzer (Bloomingdale) at 103, John Heyman (Brandon) at 119, Rick Habbeshaw (Bloomingdale) at 125, Kenny Urquhart (Brandon) at 130, Eric Yoerger (Brandon) at 135, Russ Raikes (Bloomingdale) at 140, Dave Dixon (Bloomingdale) at 145, Dan Garner (Bloomingdale) at 152, Kevin Williams (Bloomingdale) at 160, Steve Guyton (Brandon) at 189, and Rondi Guess (Brandon) at 220.

In the Class 4A, District 6 tournament, a close battle between Chamberlain and Gaither was not decided until the 189-pound final, between Chamberlain's Keith Marcos and Hillsborough's Mike Manser.

Manser was 18-1 with wins over Brandon's Steve Guyton and Bloomingdale's Kevin Williams. Marcos, in only his first year of wrestling, was 18-0.

Chamberlain had 150 points with Marcos as its last competitor.

Gaither had 142 1/2 points, but wrestlers in both the 220- and 275-pound classes yet to compete.

Marcos took charge of the match from the beginning and scored a 19-4 technical fall, putting the victory out of reach for Gaither.

"I knew I had to stay low, not lock up and not make any sudden moves that might cause me to make a mistake," Marcos said. "I knew I would win about half way through the second period when he started to die on me."

Individual district champions were Eric Graffeo (Leto) 103, Michael Patierno (Gaither) 112, Nino Prida (Chamberlain) 119, James Klecka (Chamberlain) 125, Mark Scheidter (Gaither) 130, Mark Valdiviez (Chamberlain) 135, David Slinker (Hillsborough) 140, Kevin Steele (Chamberlain) 145, Michael McMannus (Leto) 152, Michael Melendez (Leto)160, Tyrone Scott (Jefferson) 171, Keith Marcos (Chamberlain) 189, Daniel Shoman (Gaither) 220, and Jamie Stevenson (King) 275.

Auburndale's powerful Bloodhounds dominated the Class 3A, District 8 tournament, while Robinson and Jesuit battled for second place.

The Knights scored 154 1/2 points and qualified eight wrestlers for the regional tournament at Auburndale next week.

Jesuit scored 153 points and will send seven wrestlers to the regional.

Hillsborough County wrestlers winning individual titles include Ernie Illes (Plant) 112, Donald Crosser (Plant) 135, Steve Van Neste (Tampa Catholic) 145, Ken Matteson (Robinson) 152, Mike Hills (Tampa Bay Vo-Tech) 189, Matt Rametta (Jesuit) 220, and Keith Palaez (Plant) 275.